Sports Outside the Beltway

Extending Billick

With all the intrigue surrounding the search for a new head coach for the Dallas Cowboys, it was little noted that last week the Baltimore Ravens extended Brian Billick’s contract. While it might seem obvious now after a 13 – 3 season, apparently Billick was on the hot seat. A bad season probably would have his last in Baltimore.

Billick is the third longest tenured coach in the NFL.

In nine seasons under Billick, Baltimore is 75-53. His nine seasons is tied with Philadelphia’s Andy Reid for the third-longest current run in the NFL behind Jeff Fisher of Tennessee (13) and Denver’s Mike Shanahan.

Another interesting aspect of the Ravens coaching staff is that a number of Billick’s assistants have gotten top jobs in recent years. First there was Marvin Lewis who got the head coaching job in Cincinatti. The Jack Del Rio took over in Jacksonville. Most recently it was Marvin Lewis’s successor Mike Nolan who got the San Francisco head coaching position. (Nolan by the way took the job that his father held from 1968-1975.)

Now Rex Ryan – Lewis’s and Nolan’s successor – is thought to be a leading head coaching candidate. And it’s not just Ryan’s on field lineage that’s good, his off field lineage also shows some coaching talent.

His father Buddy Ryan was the famed defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears 21 years ago when they won Super Bowl XX. And his brother Rob is thought to be a candidate for the Oakland Raiders’ head coaching job where he currently serves as defensive coordinator.

Finally former University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, recently promoted to be the Ravens offensive coordinator, is looking for a chance to redeem himself and perhaps re-enter the coaching ranks.

While the Ravens’ recent absence from the playoffs until this year had been frustrating, the way that the team’s assistants regularly seem to be in demand attests to how well the team is run.

Extending Billick’s contract is an appropriate way to show appreciation to the man who is, at least, partly responsible for that success.

UPDATE: I missed one other former Ravens coach with head coaching aspirations. Hall of Famer Michael Singletary is interviewing for the Dallas job.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad.

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